Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The race to the finish
The Guardian reports that President Bush wants to send in 20,000 more troops to try for "one last push" to win the war civil war in Iraq. No word on whether winning means taking sides with the Sunnis or the Shia... (Bush has been cozying up to John McCain a lot lately, including Bush's latest statement in Vietnam, praising McCain for his service there, so could the president have decided on an annointed successor?) Here's part of the Guardian's original report:
President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.
Mr Bush's refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources said.

Although the panel's work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point "victory strategy" developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and the vice-president Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk.

Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers. This figure is far fewer than that called for by the Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain. But by raising troop levels, Mr Bush will draw a line in the sand and defy Democratic pressure for a swift drawdown.
The Guardian today is reporting that whatever the administration may face a showdown with the Democratically-controlled Congress, though it's not at all clear yet whether the Dems will stand with their base and fight, or cave to the Liebermen within them...
The new majority leader in the US Senate, Harry Reid, said yesterday the Democrats would do everything they can to stop George Bush sending more troops to Iraq. Mr Reid believed the president would not be able to find 20,000 US reinforcements for "one last push" in Iraq, a plan reported in the Guardian yesterday, because the armed forces were already stretched too thin.

"I'd rather doubt he'd do that, because we don't have the troops," said Mr Reid, who will become the most powerful figure in the Senate when the newly elected Congress convenes in January. "We don't have a single non-deployed army unit that is battle ready."

There is, however, little the new Democrat majority could do to stop the administration if it was determined to send more Americans into the fray in a final attempt to crush the insurgency and curb sectarian violence. Democrat leaders, fearful of being seen to betray American soldiers, have said they will not cut off war funding. Short of that, their power would be to pass resolutions and protest.
"We are not going to back off this," Mr Reid said. "We are going to do everything we can to let people know that if Bush was to go in this direction, we're going to speak out loudly. The whole situation in Iraq is breaking down, and the president has to realise that."
Meanwhile, Fox's Shepard Smith continues to go off the reservation. First he leaves the ranch on Katrina and now this? Next thing you know, he'll quit to take a job with an actual news organization...

And one of the four U.S. soldiers accused of raping and killing a 14-year-old girl in Mahmoudiya and killing and burning her family to conceal the crime, has pleaded guilty, and will serve 90 years in prison, though he avoids a death sentence. Specialist James Barker will testify against the other defendants. The Guardian story contain a chilling picture: the photo ID if the slain girl from 1993.

Meanwhile, four Americans are among the latest kidnap victims in Iraq.

Tags: Iraq,
posted by JReid @ 6:19 AM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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